The finalisation of plans for Exercise Cutlass Express 2015 took place at the headquarters of the SA Navy fleet, Simon’s town, last week.
Africom (US Africa Command) reports maritime professionals from South and East Africa, Europe, Indian Ocean nations and the US met to begin finalising plans for the fourth iteration of Cutlass Express set for early next year.
The four-day planning event finalised various exercise scenarios, participant force offerings, the schedule of events and participant manning ahead of next year’s exercise. The 2015 event will be the fourth in the Cutlass Express series facilitated by US Naval Forces in conjunction with the US 6th Fleet and Africom.
As with previous Cutlass Express exercises the 2015 iteration will focus on increasing capabilities in deterring counter-piracy, countering illicit trafficking and other maritime threats.
Participating planners worked to integrate the Djibouti Code of Conduct and inter-agency organisations to develop scenarios that mirror real world operations.
It is set to take place across several operational exercise areas off east Africa and Mozambique will be taking part.
“The participation of Mozambique in Exercise Cutlass Express 15 is a friendly co-operation of navies. This extends the bilateral agreement of Mozambique and South Africa, as well as the tripartite agreement between Mozambique, Tanzania and South Africa, in which we protect the security of the national maritime environment,” was Mozambique Navy Captain Eusebio Salumbia’s comment on the exercise.
SA Navy Flag Officer Fleet, Rear Admiral Bravo Mhlana, said the exercise would further cement the good partnership and alliance that support Africa and ensure free movement of trade.
“No one nation can deal with the challenges in the world today. The oceans are so vast that a united effort is required to ensure safety.”
Captain Patrick Carey, exercise executive director, said: “Cutlass Express promotes and exercises inter-operability and information sharing and it fosters strong working relationships among East African countries’ maritime services. By working together, the participating countries enhance their maritime domain awareness and ability to patrol their vast territorial waters. They gain an exponential increase in the efficient deployment of forces, increasing maritime safety and the protection of their vital natural resources”.
Cutlass Express 2013 saw 13 nations and a number of international organisations taking part in the waters around the Seychelles.
It, as with all Cutlass Expresses, is part of Africom’s efforts to improve the quality of military to military engagements across the continent and help African partners increase their own security capacity.